[Originally written March 2017, when the Premier Hockey Federation, PHF, was called the National Women’s Hockey League, NWHL]
Next up in my OTBL Awards for the NWHL’s regular season is the best ‘Offensive Defensive Player’. This is an award that looks for the players from the blue line who can add a bit of firepower along with their defensive duties. First of all I will be considering their production numbers, but will also take into account the line mates that they have been playing with, along with their contribution to the power play.
Gigi Marvin, 4G, 10A, 14Pts in 16 Games.
Having won best defensive player for the 2015/16 season, Marvin has her role on the team worked out to a T. Along with manning the blue line she also finds time to dish out plenty of passes for her teammates to connect with. She’s stacked up 21 assists so far for the Pride, with 10 of them coming from this season. Marvin is also pretty handy on the power kill, contributing to the best PK in the league by far, and netting a short-handed goal along with a SH assist to go with it.
Milica McMillen, 3G, 6A, 9Pts in 16 Games.
Another student of the 2015 Draft Class, McMillen was another rookie taking to the ice for the first time playing in the pro leagues. She was another member of the New York Riveters’ power play unit, and McMillen contributed on nearly 30% of all of the power play goals that the Rivs netted this season.
Megan Bozek, 5G, 5A, 10Pts in 16 Games.
Two years in the NWHL and Bozek already has quite the collection of awards. These include Best Defender for the most recent season, and the hardest shot award at the 2016 All-Star game, and what a shot she has! These Bozek Bombs (trademark pending) have found the back of the net 5 times this season, and 3 times on the power play. She brings plenty of firepower to the team.
Courtney Burke, 3G, 8A, 11Pts in 13 Games.
Drafted 4th overall in 2015, Burke burst onto the pro scene, proving herself as a capable defence women. She boosted the Rivs’ power play unit to be a side that could convert on 20% of the chances they got, with Burke picking up 6 power play points herself. As she adjusted to the league she really found her stride, finishing the season with 10 points in 10 games, and ending on a 6 point game streak. She has shown that she has the potential, it’s going to be exciting what she will do in the coming years.
There are our finalists; there were plenty of other defenders who could have made the list, but unfortunately only four could make the final cut, and only one can be the winner. That winner is…
With her 14 points on the season, and her ability to be able to turn defensive into offensive opportunities on the power kill, it was hard not to pick her as this year’s winner for the best ‘Offensive Defensive Player’.